Like many, I was shocked and disappointed when I saw a social media post making the rounds that was derogatory and racist to Chinese people, and even more so when I learned it was from a staffer in the Premier’s office. It is distressing that this post was made at a time when Asian communities across Canada and here in Saskatchewan are raising concerns about rising racism and racist violence in the wake of COVID-19.
With a growing chorus of voices emerging to challenge Premier Scott Moe’s claim that all is well in Saskatchewan’s Long-Term Care system, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling for the province to request an independent investigation by the Provincial Ombudsman, who has investigated Long-term Care previously, to get a complete picture of the situation.
“The Premier and Sask. Party want to ignore the deplorable realities of long-term care that are denying too many seniors the care they deserve,” said NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat. “But long-term care workers, families and seniors are all raising the alarm. We need an independent investigation of the long-standing issues plaguing our Long-Term Care system, and we’re calling on the government to ask the Ombudsman to initiate that investigation.”
On the steps of the Saskatchewan Legislature, NDP Leader Ryan Meili and NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon released A People-First Recovery, a post-COVID-19 recovery plan that focuses on building a healthy society, powered by a strong and diversified economy.
“We’ve been through a lot in the last few months. We’ve shown what Saskatchewan people are made of when we fight the COVID crisis together,” Meili said. “Now it’s time for the government to step up with a full recovery plan. The focus has to be on investing in people, because the Sask. Party’s tired old playbook of cuts will only hurt people and slow our recovery.”
The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the provincial government to commit the resources needed to support kids through a safe reopening and commit to limiting class size and ensuring adequate supports for students to learn safely. The provincial government has announced that schools will reopen in September but has provided no details on funding or safety measures to protect students and teachers.
“Parents have been working so hard to keep our kids learning with schools closed, and I know that we’re all ready to get back to normal,” said NDP Education critic Carla Beck. “But the ‘new normal’ for Saskatchewan schools can’t look like the ‘old normal’ of 50 kids to a classroom and three to a school bus seat. The Sask. Party has underfunded our schools for years, leaving kids and teachers struggling in crowded and complex classrooms. In order to ensure that we reopen safely, now’s the time to commit to smaller class sizes and adequate supports for our kids.”
Slamming the Sask. Party’s announcement that minimum wage workers would get only a 13-cent-an-hour pay increase in October, NDP Leader Ryan Meili dismissed the adjustment as an “insult” and pressed the Saskatchewan government to bring relief to frontline workers by substantially raising the minimum wage.
“Thirteen cents doesn’t get you very far — and it doesn’t help the majority of families that were already living paycheque to paycheque before COVID-19,” said Meili. “It’s time for the Sask. Party to stop insulting frontline workers with our worst-in-the-nation minimum wage, set aside their broken formula and give frontline workers the raise they deserve.”
“Last week the Minister for SaskTel said that the Sask. Party is still considering its options when it comes to allowing Huawei to be a part of SaskTel’s 5G network.
“Today, we are calling once again on the Sask. Party to immediately make it clear that Huawei should have no role whatsoever in SaskTel’s 5G network. We are also calling for a full assessment of the risks created by the Huawei infrastructure already in SaskTel’s towers.